Hearsay

HearsayI told my boyfriend that I stole a radio from the store. But they can’t use that against me because it’s hearsay, right?

Yes they can!

Many times people say things that can’t be used in court because the statement is “hearsay.” But a statement made by someone who is a party in a case, including someone accused of a crime, is not hearsay under our rules, so the statement can be admitted in court. A person can’t introduce his/her own statement in court, however, because the statement has to be offered by an opposing party. A party to a case usually has to testify if they want to tell their own version of the events.

If you told someone you stole a radio, that statement can be used against you in court, even if you were only joking. If you are stopped by the police and you say you only had two beers, that statement will be used against you also, even if you only said it to convince the police that you were okay to drive.

Even something that is not obviously incriminating can be used against you if it is different from what somebody else says happened.

Sometimes people say things under circumstances that lead them to believe that what they say won’t be repeated. Sharing a secret with a close friend or saying something in anger without thinking about it can come back to haunt you if you come under suspicion for a crime. When you say something incriminating, the person you spoke to can be subpoenaed to tell the court or the jury what you said, and it may be difficult to explain it.

So, be careful what you say! Your words can be used against you. It’s the law!

Mills, Shay, Lexier & Talbot Areas of Practice

Automobile and Motorcycle Accidents Personal Injury Cases
Wrongful Death Cases Divorce and Custody Disputes
Drug Offenses and All Criminal Matters Parental Rights
Elder Law and Probate / Estate Planning Construction Contracts
Discrimination Claims Workers’ Compensation
Drunk Driving Real Estate
Social Security Disability Malpractice Cases

Contact Info

Map Skowhegan OfficePhone: 207.474.3324
Fax: 207.474.3609
PO Box 9
263 Water Street
Skowhegan, ME
04976-0009
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